April 22, 2009 / 10:25 PM / 10 years ago

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire" gets summer revival

Red Carpet television host Regis Philbin holds a replica Oscar while checking preparations for the 80th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood February 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” — the television quiz show that heralded a flood of reality programing on U.S. television — will return to prime time screens in August for a 10th anniversary special, ABC television said on Wednesday.

Original host Regis Philbin will be back to host the show on Sundays through Thursdays from Aug 9-23.

The show, which was created in Britain, and its popular line “Is that your final answer?” quickly became a smash hit for ABC when it was first shown in the United States in 1999, drawing up to 30 million viewers per episode.

But ratings slid when the network programed it four nights a week, and it was canceled in 2002 only to return later as a shorter, syndicated daytime show.

Interest in the program has been revived by the success of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, which won eight Oscars in February and is based on the Indian version of the TV quiz.

U.S. network TV is experiencing slumping audiences this year because of competition from other forms of entertainment including videogames, DVDs, the Internet and digital music.

“Who Wants to be a Millionaire” spawned a revival of quiz shows on U.S. television and helped usher in a craze for reality-style game shows including “American Idol”, “Survivor”, “The Bachelor” and “Fear Factor”.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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